Journals of the Continental Congress

Second Continental Congress: November 30, 1775

November 30, 1775

Congress focuses on the war effort in the northern department. General Richard Montgomery receives widespread praise, encouragement, and instructions to have Nova Scotia join the American union that is based on “the Natural Rights of man.”

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Journals of the Continental Congress [Edited]

Resolved, That the Committee appointed for fitting out ships of war be directed to engage seamen on the best terms.

Resolved, That the regulations and articles for governing and manning the ships now fitting out as they have been settled by Congress be immediately printed.

Resolved, That the Committee appointed to revise the journal of last session be directed to revise the journal of the present session, and prepare them for the press; and also to examine whether it will now be proper to publish any of those parts omitted in the journal of last session. And as John Rutledge, one of the Committee, is absent, George Wythe was chosen as a replacement.

Resolved, That a Committee of Three be appointed to report a letter of thanks to the three general Officers employed in the northern Department for their services. The members chosen:  James Wilson, William Livingston, and John Jay.

The Congress resumed consideration of General Washington’s letter of the 19th.

Resolved, That the General suspend raising two battalions of Marines from his present army.

Resolved, That no bounty be allowed to the army on re-enlistment.

Resolved, That the further consideration of the General’s letter and the other matters to this day referred, be postponed until tomorrow.

Adjourned to ten o’Clock tomorrow.

Robert R. Livingston, Robert T. Paine and John Langdon to General Richard Montgomery

The Congress having done us the honor to Appoint us as a Committee to Confer with the General and yourself on the measures Necessary to be taken for the re-enlistment of the Army, as also to Conciliate the affections of the Canadians and to remove as far as in us lay every Objection that the good people of that Province might have to a Union with the thirteen Colonies, who are Struggling in the Glorious Cause of freedom, We arrived here a few days Since in prosecution of that design; but are extremely happy to find that General Schuyler and yourself have in a Great measure by your prudence and foresight anticipated our business, and rendered a Journey into Canada in some measure unnecessary at present which indeed we rather decline on Account of the Advanced season of the year and the improbability of your being able to lend us any assistance, while the enemies of the Natural Rights of man continue their hostilities against our fellow Subjects in that Province, and Confine your Attention to those Military operations which are Necessary to procure their Relief.

We cannot help however expressing the ardent wishes of the Congress that you would Cherish the first dawnings of liberty among a people, who have early testified their sense of its Value if we may be Admitted to Judge from the Assistance they afforded you in repelling its enemies. That you would assure them that the Honorable the Congress have through us declared that they hold their Rights as dear as their own, and that on their Uniting with them they will exert their utmost endeavors to procure, for them and their posterity the blessing of a free government and that Security to their property and persons which is derived from the British Constitution-that they hold Sacred the rights of Conscience, and will never disturb them in the free enjoyment of their Religion.

The Honorable Congress Recommend it to you to use your utmost endeavors to procure a free meeting of the people in their several Parishes, out of whom to Choose a Provincial Convention who will form such Rules and regulations as the present exigencies may render Necessary for their Province. From this body they hope that delegates will be chosen to meet and Cooperate with them in such measures as they shall think Necessary for their mutual Security against the unjust Violence of an arbitrary ministry….

Secret Committee Minutes of Proceedings

At a meeting of the Committee of Secrecy present: Samuel Ward, Benjamin Franklin, Silas Deane, Philip Livingston, Josiah Bartlett, Francis Lewis. A Contract was entered into between Samuel Mifflin & George Clymer of the City of Philadelphia Merchants & the said Committee.  That a voyage be immediately undertaken to some proper port or ports in Europe for the speedy procuring of twenty tons of good gunpowder, or if Gunpowder cannot be had, as much salt petre with 15 lb of Sulphur to every hundred weight thereof, as will make that quantity, five hundred stand of good arms & three thousand good plain double bridled gunlocks for the use of the United Colonies.

John Hancock to Richard Montgomery

I am directed by the Congress to transmit you their Thanks for your great and signal Services in the Expedition committed to your Command against the British Troops in the Province of Canada.

The Reduction of St. Johns and Montreal they esteem of inexpressible Advantage to the united Colonies, and the most mortifying Contravention to the ministerial System of enslaving the extensive Territory of Canada. It cannot therefore fail of reflecting singular Lustre on the Character of a General so essentially instrumental in preserving that Liberty, by the Abolition of which, a corrupt Parliament intended to annihilate every Appearance of Freedom in America. Nor, are the Humanity and Politeness, with which you have treated those in your Power less illustrious Instances of Magnanimity, than the Valour, by which you reduced them to it….

The Victories already gained in Canada afford us a happy presage of the Smiles of Providence on the farther Designation of the Continental Arms in the North, and will in all Probability greatly facilitate the entire Reduction of the deluded Malignants in that Province to Liberty. These, Sir, are Exploits so glorious in their Execution, and so extensive in their Consequences, that the Memory of Genl. Montgomery, will doubtless be of equal Duration, with the Remembrance of the Benefits derived from his Command.

At the same Time that the Congress rejoice with you in the Success of their Arms under your more immediate Direction, they cannot avoid expressing their Concern at the Intimation you give of your Intention to retire from the Service. They are sensible that the Loss of so brave and experienced an officer will be universally regretted as a Misfortune to all America. But they still hope, that upon reconsidering the Matter, the same generous and patriotic Motives, which first induced you to take so capital a Part in opposing the unprovoked Hostilities of an unnatural Enemy, will prompt you to persevere in the Cause, and to continue gathering fresh Laurels, till you find our Oppressions reduced to Reason, and America restored to her constitutional Liberties.

Edited with commentary by Gordon Lloyd.